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ECIDA sets criteria for subsidizing market-rate senior housing

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A local publicly-funded development corporation has revised its policy for subsidizing for-profit market-rate senior housing projects.

The Erie County Industrial Development Agency's board members voted in favor of a set of criteria for evaluating what for-profit projects may qualify for funds. They include appropriate rental rates for low-income seniors, proximity to amenities, the creation of walkable neighborhoods and compliance with a community's master plan.

"I think what we wanted to do was provide more clarity and obviously more restriction to make sure we're focused on low-income senior housing for our community," said ECIDA CEO Steve Weathers. "The state doesn't provide us with a lot of guidelines, and we want to make sure we've got good guidelines put in place."

While some voting 'yes' to the new criteria say for-profit market-rate senior housing projects should, in theory, be handled entirely by the private market, supporters of the guidelines add that with an aging local population and places in Erie County in need of additional senior homes, especially in the Southtowns, the door could be left open to some projects by ensuring they comply with the ECIDA's new criteria.